MEDIA MATTERS –
Make no mistake, and Ireland’s increasing cyclist road toll doesn’t lie…
The spread of uninformed and illegitimate views, particularly by opinion leaders working in media, are fuelling misconceptions of cyclists and helping normalise dangerous driving directed towards people on bicycles.
Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 is Ireland’s largest Facebook advocacy page and is often awash with comments such as “I won’t respect cyclists on the road until they pay road tax, have insurance and their bicycles NCT’d” and the usual ranting about Lycra, law-breaking and perceptions of over-entitlement etc.
These particular fallacies need to be wrung out and put to bed by authorities such as the RSA, TII, Garda Traffic etc.
While these comments are out there fanning flames, these bodies seem ineffective in the face of such misinformation and misunderstanding and the resulting fall-out will spread…
…of that you can have no doubt.
Traffic cops in the U.K. are helping to correct some of this misinformation but we see nothing remotely like this from our Gardaí. 👇
We see this from other places too.
This is a reply from the Queensland dept of Transport and main roads social media page, answering the ‘who pays’ question; one we regularly see on our own social media. It’s important that this kind of question gets answered.
When left unanswered, it can leave the notion that someone who pays ‘road tax’ has a right to the road which exceeds that of someone who doesn’t.
This in turn can create up an unnecessarily dangerous situation.
We can easily predict where this non effectiveness will lead us to.
This is one such comment left unmoderated on our national broadcaster RTE’s Facebook page.
Motorists will just get increasingly annoyed about interactions with bicycle riders that they neither understand or care about.
At best we can expect this frustration to lead to cyclist hate pages popping up on social media where this can be vented.
At worst we will see a cyclist fatality as a result as has happened in this case recently in Australia.
Motorist Ben Smith was sentenced for the death of a bicycle rider.
In handing down his sentence Judge Buscombe found Smith had “a strong dislike verging on hate towards cyclists” as evidenced by a Facebook post in which he warned cyclists they would keep “coping 2inch flybys” and abuse if they continued to use the road.
We see a lot of these types of comments on cyclist related social media pages (ours are moderated – others are not) and it’s can only be a matter of time until we have our own Ben Smith.